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October 1, 2014

Is VH1 Actually Getting Classy?

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 19th 2010 8:05PM
Tough Love CouplesIt takes a big network to admit that it's been bad. And when VH1 decided to blow up most of its schedule and announce 44 new shows earlier today, that's exactly what they did.

Pretty much all the shows that have been part of the VH1 lineup over the last few years -- shows like 'Flavor of Love,' 'Rock of Love,' 'Tool Academy' and other high art -- are going to fade away in favor of more documentary-style shows. And, shocker of all shocks, music is coming back, with more music-video-centric shows and the revival of 'Behind The Music.'

Even the network's president, Tom Calderone, seems to think that its high time for the network to ditch its recent tawdry past. "(O)ur audience was getting a little fatigued by all those manufactured reality shows," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "They want more authenticity in their reality, which isn't to say that it can't be comedic and light."

But is fatigue the real reason why VH1 is classing it up? And are they really classing things up at all? A closer examination makes both answers a little less obvious.

After Ryan Jenkins, a contestant on two of VH1's more notorious shows -- 'Megan Wants A Millionaire' and 'I Love Money 3' -- skipped to Canada and killed himself after allegedly killing his ex-wife, Calderone was already talking in sober tones about a change of direction for the network. "We don't want our viewers tuning in and feeling like it's the same network all the time, that is not something we want to be famous for," he told the LA Times in August.

Their aim was to work with different companies than 51 Minds Entertainment, the geniuses who gave us all the shows I mentioned above, along with such classics as 'Charm School' and 'I Love New York.' While the wild and woolly shows created by 51 Minds were garnering good ratings, the same LA Times article mentioned a 12% slip in ad revenue from 2007. So, even if the floozies, drinking, and douchebaggery was getting audiences, advertisers weren't lining up to sell their wares to those those folks.

So not only did the Ryan Jenkins debacle scare the network straight, they're also making a cold hard business decision. But are the shows that they're developing really going to bring that upscale audience that the advertisers are going to want?

Sure, the return of the always-fun 'Behind The Music' and 'Storytellers' will boost the network's classy quotient. But looking at some of the other shows being proposed, that quotient starts going back down.

The contestants of 'Money Hungry' will have to pay ten grand if they don't cut their calories. And, in 'You're Cut Off!,' a bunch of spoiled 'Girls Gone Wild' candidates will be stripped of their party-hearty habits. While those shows sound a heck of a lot less scungy than 'Daisy of Love,' it still doesn't feel much more than rehashes of other point-and-gawk reality shows that we're already seeing. Heck, one of the newer batch of shows already on the air, 'Tough Love,' gets made fun of on 'The Soup' each and every week, and Joel McHale and company aren't laughing at the show's dry wit.

I give VH1 some credit for trying to get away from the "Let's just make another spin-off of 'The Surreal Life'" method of programming. But I'll believe the network has gotten classier when I see it.

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Twinsmommy10

I just wish they would start showing videos again - and by that I mean videos from a wide variety of artists, not just top 40 bubble gum crap...

April 20 2010 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
will

please VH1..if you want to be classier no rap videos. Only the drudge of society or 12 year olds buy that crap!

April 20 2010 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kevin

Thanks God.....that was crap....and who says reality shows are music?? WTF?? Now MTV and VH1 have to dump WRAP CRAP HIP HOOP stuff they call music and start bringing up the real musicians again. If your into music I have one thing to say ::::::::PALLADIA::::::::::::back to the basics.

April 20 2010 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hsmfan

Finally VH1 has some sense knocked into them to get rid of stupid wasteless reality shows.

April 20 2010 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tiffany

I couldn't agree more. Pop up video is the greatest show that VH1 ever had! Bring it back with up to date music!

April 20 2010 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charlene

Props to VH1-FINALLY!! Get rid of all the shows they have now, they are PLAYED OUT!! Bring back an updated version of "Behind the Music" "Storytellers" & fun stuff like "Pop Up Video" & for GOD sakes PLAY MORE MUSIC.
Put all the urban stuff on MTV. Bring the old & NEW generation of actual MUSIC,MUSICIANS & BANDS back into the rotation!!

April 20 2010 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guillermo Sanchez

How about a music show for a change?

April 20 2010 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lizzie

I thought it was MUSIC Television. What happened to the Music. I Want My MTV. VH1 was holding out for a while there still playing music when MTV started the reality thing with Real World. It was good back then and now all those shows are a joke. The nine year olds that are watching can't afford what the advertisers are selling anyway. Put back the Music.

April 20 2010 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
manzi24

Thank God! I was just talking about this the other day!
VH1 was much more interesting when it was all about the music and less about all of this reality junk.

April 20 2010 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
goodnews2

Oh please, Pop Up Video too!! I loved that, it got to be really funny besides informative. They have to have an "Oldies" MTV time so we can watch the beginnings, along with meeting the new players, who some of us can't buy tickets quick enough to see in person. Cool!

April 20 2010 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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